Portuguese Psychedelic Rock: A History

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


If you’re a fan of psychedelic rock, then you’ll definitely want to check out this blog post on the history of Portuguese psychedelic rock. From the early days of the genre to the present day, we explore how this unique music scene has developed and evolved.

The Origins of Portuguese Psychedelic Rock

Portuguese psychedelic rock, also known as simply Portuguese rock, is a subgenre of rock music that combines elements of psychedelic rock with the traditional sounds of Portugal. The genre began to take shape in the late 1960s and early 1970s, with bands such as Os Mutantes and Secos & Molhados being some of the earliest examples. Portuguese psychedelic rock has since continued to evolve, with various artists adding their own unique twists to the sound.

The First Wave of Portuguese Psychedelic Rock (1966-1970)

The first wave of Portuguese Psychedelic Rock began in 1966 with the formation of several bands such as Os Mutantes, Os Brasas, and Os Rebeldes. These bands combined Western pop and rock with traditional Brazilian music to create a unique sound that was indebted to both cultures. The music of this era was often political and reflective of the social unrest that was occurring in Brazil at the time.

In 1968, a military dictatorship took over Brazil which led to many of these bands being banned from performing. Some members of these bands went on to form new groups such as Novos Baianos and Secos & Molhados which continued to push the boundaries of what was considered acceptable in Brazilian music.

The first wave of Portuguese Psychedelic Rock came to an end in the early 1970s as many of the bands from this era disbanded or stopped making new music. However, the influence of this style can still be heard in the work of modern Brazilian artists such as Os Mutantes, Secos & Molhados, and Novos Baianos.

The Second Wave of Portuguese Psychedelic Rock (1971-1975)

The Second Wave of Portuguese Psychedelic Rock is often considered to be a more refined and accomplished take on the style than the first wave. Many of the bands from this period had been honing their skills for years before finally unleashing their full psychedelic potential. This wave of bands also benefitted from a wide range of influences, including British prog rock, American garage rock, and even late 60s/early 70s hard rock. The best known band from this era is undoubtedly Os Cordas, who released a string of classic albums that are still revered by fans today. Other notable Second Wave bands include José Cid & Os Cyclones, Branca-Lusa, Novos Baianos, and Rui Veloso & Os Capuchinho Vermelho.

The Resurgence of Portuguese Psychedelic Rock

In recent years, there has been a resurgence in the popularity of Portuguese psychedelic rock. This genre of music is characterized by its use of electronic and psychedelic sounds. Portuguese psychedelic rock bands such as Os Mutantes and Novos Baianos were popular in the 1970s. These bands blended Brazilian music with psychedelic rock to create a unique sound.

The New Wave of Portuguese Psychedelic Rock (1980-1985)

The New Wave of Portuguese Psychedelic Rock was a movement that emerged in the early 1980s, following the resurrection of Psychedelic Rock in the late 1970s. This new wave was pioneered by a number of young bands who were influenced by the likes of Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett, and The Doors. These bands would go on to have a profound impact on the development of Portuguese rock music, and their influence can still be felt today.

One of the most important bands of this era was Xutos & Pontapés, who formed in 1979 and released their debut album in 1981. This album, entitled “A Curva da Esperança”, is widely regarded as one of the most important Portuguese rock albums ever released. Other important bands from this era include Os Replicantes, Rui Veloso, Heróis do Mar, and Madredeus.

The New Wave of Portuguese Psychedelic Rock came to an abrupt end in 1985, when the government imposed a series of strict censorship laws that effectively silenced the country’s rock music scene. However, this would not be the end of Portugal’s Psychedelic Rock history. In the 1990s, a new generation of bands would emerge, carrying on the legacy of their predecessors.

The Modern Wave of Portuguese Psychedelic Rock (2000-present)

In the new millennium, a younger generation of Portuguese musicians would discover the work of their 60s and 70s predecessors and be inspired to continue in the tradition of psychedelic rock. This modern wave of Portuguese psychedelic bands began to gain notice in the early 2000s, with groups like The Moonkshines, Datura Prelude, and Peixe:Avião making a name for themselves on the international music scene.

The Moonkshines were particularly successful in bringing Portuguese psychedelic rock to a new audience, thanks to their tight songwriting and lively stage presence. The band released two albums – ”Flying Fish” (2004) and ”Seasick” (2006) – that earned them rave reviews from critics and fans alike. Their 2006 single ”All I Wanna Do” was even nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Psychedelic Rock Performance.

while Datura Prairie’s downtempo, atmospheric soundscapes evoked the work of classic psychedelic pioneers like Pink Floyd and Brian Eno. The band’s debut album ”SpaceODE” (2005) was voted one of the best albums of the year by Portugal’s leading music magazine Blitz, solidifying their status as one of the country’s most promising up-and-coming bands.

By the end of the 2000s, Portuguese psychedelic rock had firmly established itself as a viable musical genre once again, thanks to these and other progressive bands who were keeping the spirit of psychedelia alive. In 2009, two important compilations were released that showcased the best of what this new wave of Portuguese psychedelic music had to offer. The first was ”Elephant Stone Presents: Portugal goes Psychedelic”, which featured tracks by Datura Prairie, The Moonkshines, Peixe:Avião, and many other prominent acts. The second was ”The Poppy Seeds”, a 2-CD set that compiled over four hours’ worth of material from more than two dozen different Portuguese psychedelic bands.

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